Friday, July 21, 2006

"Ally of ringleader in Liberty City terrorist plot stalled group's plans"

I missed Vanessa Blum's article yesterday about the Miami 7 terror case with the headline above. Here's the intriguing intro to the article:

The arrival in South Florida of a Chicago man linked to the ringleader of a group accused of plotting to blow up the Sears Tower in Chicago and the FBI building in Miami spoiled the FBI's plans to follow the group longer, according to investigative records.Narseal Batiste, charged with conspiracy to support terrorism and wage war on the United States, summoned his spiritual leader, Sultan Khanbey, to South Florida in early April. His visit occurred just as the FBI prepared to introduce an undercover informant posing as an explosives expert from Europe.At the time, a separate FBI informant posing as an al-Qaida agent already had infiltrated the group and asked Batiste and his followers to participate in a fictional al-Qaida plot to bomb FBI buildings in five cities. Instead of accelerating those plans, Khanbey's arrival led to infighting that disbanded the group before the FBI could gather additional evidence about their willingness to carry out an attack.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

WASHINGTON (AP) -- As the White House nears its recommendations to prosecute terror suspects detained by the military, it's undecided on whether to use courts martial or more stringent military tribunals.

A draft being circulated within the administration says the more defendant-friendly court-martial system is "not practicable in trying enemy combatants" since it would require the government to share classified information, The New York Times reported on its Web site Tuesday night.

According to the draft, hearsay evidence would be allowed unless it was deemed to be unreliable. Defendants also would be barred from their own trials if it necessary to protect national security.

The legislation also would declare that a provision of the Geneva Conventions would not apply to detainees, meaning terror suspects could not file lawsuits in the future saying their Geneva rights were violated, the Times said.

The Supreme Court ruled last month that the international conventions do apply.

At the same time, however, the legislation would offer a few expanded protections for defendants, including a ban on statements obtained by the use of torture for use as evidence, according to the Times.

The administration has been wrangling with the issue of detainees' legal rights since a June 29 ruling by the Supreme Court, which determined the military tribunals established by the Pentagon to prosecute the prisoners requires authorization by Congress.

The administration had previously maintained that the president's executive authority allowed him to establish the tribunals without Congress' permission. President Bush also asserted that the Geneva Conventions did not apply to terror suspects because they were not conventional prisoners of war.

Sen. John Warner, who chairs the Armed Services Committee, said he had wanted to convene a hearing this week on the matter, but was urged by Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to hold off until the administration could interview military lawyers and formulate a solid proposal.

Warner, R-Virginia, and Sens. John McCain, R-Arizona, and Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, have met frequently with administration officials in recent days to discuss detainee legislation.

The senators have said they would support establishing a system based on the military's own court-martial practices and had been told the White House would support such a move. But senior officials from the Pentagon and Justice Department testified earlier this month that the Uniform Code of Military Justice would be too lenient on terror suspects and could expose classified information.